Materials, Structures and Manufacturing Group announce new post-doc and PhD positions

05 Jan 2021

The Materials, Structures and Manufacturing Group, led by Professor Peter Lee, UCL at the Research Complex at Harwell have announced a number of positions now available for application. The Group’s  research focuses on the X-ray imaging and computational simulation of materials at a microstructural level and as part of two exciting aligned projects, two Post-Doc/PDRF and three funded PhD studentships (home / EU students), based at UCL, ESRF and/or Harwell have been created.

The two PDRA posts and first two PhD projects are part of an international, interdisciplinary Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funded joint UCL-ESRF-Hannover-Mainz project to develop a new tomography imaging modality (HiP-CT) using the world’s brightest synchrotron, ESRF-EBS, to scan whole human bodies with 1um local resolution (please see, working with the bio-modelling, bio-Imaging, and AI groups at UCL, together with Medics in Germany, and X-ray physicists in France. The overall project goal is to develop novel techniques to help better understand human physiology and how diseases such as Covid-19 injure our organs and other soft and hard tissue.

The two PDRF posts are:

1. Research Fellow in X-ray Imaging: Whole Organ to Cellular Resolution (based at ESRF) Profs. Peter D Lee, Simon Walker-Samuel and Drs. Paul Tafforeau (ESRF) and Claire Walsh.  See:

Your role will be to help develop this tomography technique (HiP-CT) focussing on developing and implementing machine learning correlative image analysis techniques, performing scans and interpreting the results, working with clinicians and biologists worldwide.

Deadline for applications: 24th January 2021

2. Research Fellow in Tomographic Image-based Dynamic Whole Organ Modelling (based at UCL or Harwell, but with long stays at ESRF)  Profs. Peter D Lee, Rebecca Shipley and Drs. Paul Tafforeau (ESRF) and Claire Walsh.  See:

Your goal will be to perform computational simulations of dynamic biological processes including blood flow and joint biomechanics (validated via in situ digital volume correlation). You will also work with other researchers to help optimise the reconstruction and segmentation algorithms.

Deadline for applications: 24th January 2021

The two PhD posts on the first Project are:

1. Deep Learning guided Imaging to correlate imaging from a whole organ to cellular level, w. Prof. Simon Walker-Samuel and Drs Claire Walsh & Joseph Jacobs.  See:

This project will initially develop and apply deep learning techniques to segment HiP-CT data (airways, blood vessels, cells, etc.) to enable biological insights to be drawn and for further biophysical simulations. A secondary aim will be to explore more advanced machine learning techniques such as generative adversarial networks, in order to correlate HiP-CT data with images from other modalities (such as histology, lightsheet, MRI and CT). This type of analysis will enable substantially better interpretation of HiP-CT so that it can provide quantitative biological and medical insights.

2. Imaging to inform models of whole organ behaviour in health and disease, w. Profs. R. Shipley & Peter Lee.  See:

You will use segmented synchrotron data from a variety of organs as input for established and novel models of: blood flow prediction, air flow prediction, drug delivery. Using these models, you will predict functional information from segmented structural information, providing new insights into the function of the human body in health and disease (including Covid-19).

The third PhD project is part of an international, EPSRC funded project to couple synchrotron micro-tomography and SAXS to enable imaging of fibrillar tissue in joints and intervertebral discs. The bioengineering challenge is to determine the correlated 3D deformation and structural changes at the molecular-, fibrillar-, and cell-matrix length-scales under physiological load in intact tissue, and how these alter in ageing, injury and disease. You will be based at Harwell Campus where Diamond Light Source is located, but will also work with collaborators at QMUL, Manchester, and ESRF (Grenoble).

The PhD project will focus on:

3. Macro-to-molecular correlative X-ray imaging of strain during spinal joint loading, w. Peter D Lee, Federico Bosi and Himadri S Gupta (QMUL). See

You will use two imaging modalities, phase contrast tomography (pCT) and digital volume correlation (DVC), to measure strains at the nanoscale in whole joints using a unique in situ biomechanical loading device. You will analyse these results using pCT/DVC to predict the functional alterations in micromechanics in intact, injured joints, providing new insights into the function of the human body in health and disease. You will be working with two PDRAs who will be developing the techniques.

Deadline for the above three posts: Applications considered on a rolling basis until position is filled. Latest start date available Sept 2021.

Image by RAEng_Publications from Pixabay